Peak(s):  "Lake Point"  -  13,506 feet
Date Posted:  05/19/2018
Modified:  05/20/2018
Date Climbed:   05/17/2018
Author:  osprey
 Lake Point  

Sheep Mountain 13,188' and its east/west ridge ridge dominates the view as one drives south from Telluride on Hwy 145 towards Lizard Head Pass. The summit of Sheep Mountain is the snow covered shoulder on the western ( right) end of the east/west ridge.18551_01

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The ridge gains elevation as it proceeds eastward and reaches the high point of 13,506'. This high point has no official name but was called by Dwight Lavender in San Juan Mountaineers' Guide (1932) as " Lake Point". Lake Point is the square block a little to the east of the center of the ridge. It is an unofficial summit because it is only 0.46 miles from 13,752' San Miguel Peak to which it is connected by the ridge extending east and south from Lake Point. I climbed this peak in May 1992 and enjoyed it so much that I repeated it almost exactly 26 years later. There are ( to my knowledge) no trip reports of this peak so I would like to contribute one. It deserves more attention as it is a great climb.

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The access to Lake Point starts at the Hope Lake Trailhead near Trout Lake. The access is via Hwy145. About 12 miles south of Telluride or 2 miles north of Lizard Head Pass there is a large brown sign saying "Forest Service Access Priest Lakes". This is also the North Trout Lake road/ route #626. Follow this #626 good gravel road about 1.75 miles east and then turn left uphill on the Hope Lake road route #627. The Hope Lake road is a steeper, rockier and pot-holier than thou version of the N Trout lake road but is still drivable by ordinary 2 wheel drive cars.18551_51

Follow the Hope Lake road about 2.5 miles to the well marked trailhead which has parking space for several vehicles. The trail is well maintained and is extremely popular during summers, weekends, holidays. The trail reaches Hope Lake in about 2.7 miles. Hope Lake is the headwaters of the San Miguel river.

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This climb is best done as a snow climb starting early in the morning while the snow is frozen. I started from the trailhead at 0500.The trail was snow free until reaching about 10,800 and then snow covered the trail. About 2 miles from the trailhead the trail comes very close to the Lake Fork stream which flows from Hope Lake. To the south of this spot of is the entrance to a hanging valley between San Miguel Peak to the east and Sheep Mountain to the west. This valley is the access to Lake Point.

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I left the trail here and crossed the barely flowing stream. After crossing the stream I put crampons on and an axe to ascend a firm snow slope heading directly to the northern termination of San Miguel.

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After reaching the northern termination of San Miguel Peak, enter the valley by skirting the San Miguel buttress on its west side. Once in the valley it is best to stay on the valley floor heading south until almost reaching the saddle between San Miguel and Sheep Mountain.The distance from the entrance to the valley to the saddle is about 1.5 miles.

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Lake Point does not come into view until almost reaching the saddle then it is visible up to the east. Once I was directly under Lake Point I removed crampons and climbed steeply directly east to reach the summit block. In 1992 the entire east facing slopes were snow covered and on that trip I used crampons and ax to get to the summit block. In 2018 the east slope was completely barren of snow and the steep ascent to the summit block was a slow go on heinous loose scree.

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The summit block is about 30 high and there is reportedly a route on the east face. I think it probably involves going up the ledges.

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But both in 1992 and on this trip I went through a gap on the south side of the block and wandered around to the southwest corner of the summit.

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The view from the gap shows the summit of Sheep Mountain and a gendarme, both of which I have climbed in a separate trip many years ago.

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Here after the gap I found a crack/ledge system.

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In my failing memory of that climb done when I was 42, I erroneously remembered it as a 10-12 foot scamper from the base to the summit with one or two 5.0 rock moves thrown in. In reality it is about a 20 foot climb to the summit with the first 10-12 feet involving 5.4-5.5 moves on mostly solid rock before the route easies with the remainder of the climb done on ledges. Twenty six years later it is no longer a scamper, it felt like 5.15d and was done with constant whimpering noises on both the ascent and descent.

The summit is relatively flat and the rock is very reminiscent of the rock on US Grant Peak. Views from the summit are glorious with the Wilson group to the west, Sneffels to the north, Pilot Knob, Golden Horn, Vermilion, Fuller, Beattie and San Miguel to the east, and Grizzly to the south. My GPS watch gave a distance of 3.5 miles trail head to the summit and it took almost 5 hours to summit.

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Here are two random pictures showing an imitation Tea Kettle formation on Sheep Mountain ridge and some ice falls which look like they could still be climbed.18551_3418551_31

The descent was more rapid by surfing down the scree until reaching the valley floor.

18551_11 I was able to descend with no post holing until almost reaching the stream crossing when, upon encountering willows, I started going in up to my waist. But it does not count as a climb unless there are some willows and post holing, right?

My great appreciation to Rob Schichtel for patiently spending more than an hour with me guiding me through the process of transferring photos from my camera to the trip report. We have had many fine ice climbs and other mountain adventures together in years past.






Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
Rob Schichtel

Good one
05/19/2018 12:23
Iâve spent a lot of time looking st this summit while hiking and climbing from Hope Lake TH.


BrianEhlers
East Side
05/21/2018 13:32
The first picture of the summit block shows the east face route that I took. It is pretty easy to get on top of the block in the center from the east side. Above this there is a crack with a little bit of shadow. There are ledges towards the top of the crack on both sides, but they didn't look like they would work - they were loose and would probably pull out. So I climbed with feet on the left side of the crack, and hands on the right layed out. I have not idea what the rating for this would be.

From there I went to back to saddle and up and over San Miguel to Hope Lake. Very nice route.


osprey
East Side
05/21/2018 15:46
Thanks Brian. Sounds a little too hard for me. I had considered doing San Miguel as you did but thought the way up San Miguel from the saddle was perhaps chossy based on a prior climb of San Miguel.


MatB

Thanks
05/22/2018 20:22
Thanks for sharing, looks like a nice outing.


osprey
MatB
05/23/2018 07:47
Thank you. Appreciate your comments.


Boggy B

Great post
07/08/2018 20:34
Glad I stumbled upon this working on a TR for Lake Point. I wondered how the approach you took would go. We climbed 2 different routes to the summit; I went up an exposed dihedral on the north side and my wife took the same route as you. We felt both routes were in the 5.4-5.5 range as well. We descended the route mentioned by Brian Ehlers and thought it much easier, 5.2 or so.


osprey
Boggy B
07/09/2018 12:14
Thank you Boggy B. I have always enjoyed reading your trip reports of climbs you have done with Kaylie.
The exposure on the north side is ferocious. I would hazard a guess that you have done the first ascent of that route.



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